Middle Bit: The Athletic raises $5.8 million for sports news coverage; A robot is coming to St. Louis grocery stores

Des Moines Skyline The skyline of downtown Des Moines features the Principal Building (tall center) along with the Financial Center (blue building to the left). As the downtown area continues to expand, more will be added to the skyline. Photo courtesy of Joe Tomlin

Founders of The Athletic—an 18 month-old online sports publication—Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann raised $5.8 million in new capital from investors, according to bloomberg.com. 

According to the story, Mather and Hansmann have no journalism experience but plan to, “scoop up” laid off writers after ESPN, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and Yahoo Sports all made cuts to their sports staff this year.

The Chicago-based company first launched in 2016 on the hunch that it was the year for the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series and had 1,000 subscribers after eight months. It now has sites with news dedicated to Cleveland, Ohio; Toronto and Detroit, Mich.

Subscribers pay $40 for “Premium Sports News & Analysis.”

Robots in grocery stores

Tally—a slender robot—will be roaming the aisles at select Schnucks grocery stores in St. Louis on the lookout for out-of-stock items and verifying prices, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. 

According to the story, Tally is 38 inches tall and doesn’t have limbs but has two blinking eyes on a digital screen.

Maryland Heights-based Schnucks has 100 stores in five states and began testing the robot Monday. The pilot test will last six weeks.

A robot will appear in two other stores as tests, according to the Post-Dispatch.

IEDA approves $111 million for investments in Iowa

The Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to seven companies for job creation and expansion projects, according to an IEDA news release Friday.

According to the release, the Iowa Economic Development Authority approved over $111 million in capital investment in Iowa. The board approved planned or proposed projects located in Ankeny, Des Moines, Fairfield, Huxley, Independence, Oskaloosa, Polk City and West Des Moines.

What else happened…

Colorado

Colorado-Springs based jumbo air tanker is approved to fight wildfires – The Denver Post

Illinois

PhysIQ—a Naperville, Ill.based—provider of proprietary predictive analytics for human physiology, raised $8 million in Series B funding. 4490 Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Quark Venture Inc. and LionBird.

Iowa

Six new stores revealed for new outlet mall in Altoona – The Des Moines Register

Nebraska

Invest Nebraska brings capital to raises to state’s communities – SPN.com

Missouri

Lyft returns to Kansas City – startlandnews.com

Kansas City group wants to set world record for coworking – startlandnews.com

Gov. Grietens seeks entrepreneurs input – startlandnews.com

Governor wants Missouri to be welcoming to startups – Missouri Business Alert

Minnesota

Bright Health acquires marketing agency Spyder Trap – tcbmag.com

Minneapolis police will turn on body cameras for any call – startribune.com

Wisconsin

Apple supplier Foxconn to produce display panels in Wisconsin – The Wall Street Journal

Foxconn announces $10 billion investment – Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin company offers to microchip employees – Thenewstribune.com